Many people struggle to pay for the health care services they need, especially if they don’t have health insurance coverage. If you live in Tennessee, you may be able to obtain free health care. Some people with low incomes qualify for TennCare, which pays for a variety of health care services. If you don’t qualify for TennCare, you may qualify for free health care from other sources. Apply even if you aren’t sure you will qualify; you may end up being surprised.
Visit the Department of Human Services office in the county in which you live to pick up a TennCare application. TennCare is the name of Tennessee’s Medicaid program. If you prefer, you can download an application online here (http://state.tn.us/humanserv/forms/hs-0169.pdf).
Complete the TennCare application and return it to your local Department of Human Services office. They will let you know what kind of documentation you need to bring with you, like proof of income. Make sure you take all requested documents when you turn in your application. If you need help getting any of the documents you need, ask for assistance at the Department of Human Services and they will help you.
Contact local hospitals and speak to a financial counselor. If you need lifesaving treatment in an emergency or if you are in active labor, hospitals must provide treatment even if you cannot pay. Hospitals often have funds to help pay for non-emergency care for people with low incomes as well. Social workers at hospitals can often help refer patients to resources that assist with health care bills as well.
Speak to your doctor about your financial situation and ask you can receive free health care or services for a reduced fee. Definitely ask if your doctor can give you free samples of medications you need if you cannot afford to purchase them. Some doctors are happy to help and some know of other community resources you can use. Your local board of health may also be able to direct you toward clinics that offer services on a sliding scale; your fees will be based on your income, so if your income is very low, you can receive free health care.
TN.gov. http://www.tn.gov/tenncare/mem-eligibility.html. TennCare Eligibility.
TN.gov. http://www.tn.gov/tenncare/mem-apply.html. How to Apply.
Emtala.com. http://www.emtala.com/faq.htm. Frequently Asked Questions.